University of Virginia Takes Further Steps to Open Its Campus to Low-Income Students

Two years ago the University of Virginia established the AccessUVA program. This new financial aid effort eliminates loans for students from low-income families and replaces these loans with outright scholarship grants. This plan was modeled after a similar Princeton program initiated five years ago.

But now the University of Virginia has launched another program that will make it easier for low-income students to gain admission to the university. In 2005 the University of Virginia accepted 37 percent of students who applied for admission. Many black applicants and other students from low-income families do not have the high school grade point averages or SAT scores to meet the selective admissions requirement of the university. Many of these students end up at one of Virginia’s 23 state-operated community colleges.

Under the new plan, students who earn an associate’s degree at a Virginia community college in a two-year period, have a cumulative grade point average of 3.4 and no grade lower than a C, and who take a specific well-rounded curriculum will be guaranteed admission to the University of Virginia as a transfer student for their junior year.

With this new opportunity, high school seniors with low SAT scores, who would not be admitted under the normal admissions procedures at UVA, can decide to go to a community college and work hard to meet the stipulated requirements, knowing that, if they succeed, they will gain admission to the University of Virginia in two years. Students from low-income families who transfer to UVA from a community college under the program will be eligible for AccessUVA financial aid grants.